1.) What are the red things at the end of the cables, going over the plugs, called?

2.) What do they do, and are they better to have?

i think it is just to make it so it doesnt break, i have ducktape on my cable lol because it was starting to come apart
It's just a cover for the actual part that connects to the guitar. I find them annoying because after they've been plugged and unplugged the cover starts coming off and exposes the bare wires. Just go with standard metal plugs with no cover. They don't do anything to improve your sound.
Quote by andy331
i think it is just to make it so it doesnt break, i have ducktape on my cable lol because it was starting to come apart

you know you need new cables when?

i use planet waves cables and they have this hardcore rubbery plasticy thing around there instead, those red things are just a cover for the joint so it doesn't break the wires, similar to that of like earbud headphones
05' G&L S-500
95' Godin LGX

96' Yamaha APX 6-A

Peavey Classic 30
Maxon OD808
oh, i know they don't do anything for your sound, i was just wondering if they made your cables last any longer.

It's shrink tubing. The intention is to act as a strain relief so that when you pull out the plug you're not pulling on the cable or the connections inside it.

They're pretty useless. They always come loose. You can just cut them off. Just grab the plug by the metal barrel when you pull it out and you'll be fine.
They are there for protection basically and adds a bit more of shielding and protection in a high movement location. It keeps the ends from coming unscrewed and exposing the wires underneath. Not the other way around. The wire goes into the metal connectors then the wire is soldered. Then the metal pieces are screwed together and they put heat shrink over the wire and connector so it keeps everything in line and tight which is what you see. Example with out this the wire is free to move and stretch and can break the connection inside. I've had this happen twice so now i only purchase cables with ends like those pictured so it doesnt happen again.

And cheap ones come off with well made cables they do not.. I've even got a set of GC specials i had when i was in high school and there still in perfect working order. And those have been through some abuse..
Last edited by IbanezPsycho at May 14, 2008,
so you said they "heat-shrink" it, i don't know if your talking about the red things... but i wouldn't be able to put any on if i made my own cable would I?

heat shrink tubing.
they put it over each solder joint to hold the cable better as well as make it look all nice.

I put heat shrink tubing on all my cables

AE has a kit but you need to take the jacks off the end of the cables first to get it over the end, it wont shrink that much...

I got the 154 kit
Last edited by moody07747 at May 14, 2008,
Also on these cables and most they heat shrink the connection and solder joint then screw on the metal caps then heat shrink the caps for stabilty... Heat shrink can be found at any automotive store even walmart has it. Cheap, easy and effective...
Match would probably do it, or a blow dryer.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
so it must not take THAT much heat to shrink it. cool, thanx.

Last edited by TheBax at May 15, 2008,
Quote by TheBax
how do you heat it?

with a flame...or heat gun. Torches usually work fast and are easy but you have to keep them from burning the rubber.

I have the $50 BERNZ-O-MATIC hand torch which is sold at HomeDepot. It runs on butane so its easy and cheap to fill.
No good cable uses that stuff. Those are on cables found in the $10.99 bin.
MESA 412
we got this heat shrink we use at work for our trucks....battery cables and what not, and when you heat it up and shrink it down, it sets up VERY solid....cant really bend it at all...ive fixed a lot of junk cables and end up using that stuff to keep a solid connection...i think the brand name is WAYTEK

btw, some of my best cables came with shrink wrap on them.....
Just covers for the wires so they don't get slashed.

Gibson Les Paul Traditional
Carvin V3 and Marhall 1960A cab
2 B.C. Rich Ironbird Pro
Schecter Hellraiser 6
Boss ML-2

Wow, heat shrink tubing used as stress relief? That's just...not good. I put shrink tubing on XLR cable I make at work, but not for stress relief. It's a label with our name and logo on it so nobody steals our cabling at gigs. I put it about 6-10 inches down from the end of the male connector so it doesn't even get near the connections if I have to repair them.

Shrink tubing would make horrible stress relief. It's too pliable. Plus, most good connectors (like Neutrik) have built in stress relief.

But unless you tape the hell out of the ends connectors to the cable, there's no amount of stress relief that will save you if you are habitual "cable puller" when you unplug.


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